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External-facing assessments: Can higher education balance the needs of students, stakeholders, and the public?

Tong, V; Grindle, N; Kador, T; Garcia Souto, P; Brown, N; (2017) External-facing assessments: Can higher education balance the needs of students, stakeholders, and the public? Presented at: SRHE Annual Research Conference 2017, Newport, UK. Green open access

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Abstract

Students producing work that is directed at an external audience - whether a formal assessment, a ‘showcase portfolio’, or a selection of work curated by the student outside the curriculum - is emerging as a critical field of enquiry and practice. Supporting students to produce work that is directed at an audience is a key way for higher education to balance the needs of students, stakeholders, and the public. The question is, can higher education use innovative forms of assessment to balance these competing needs? This roundtable explores the challenges facing universities as external-facing assessments assume a greater prominence 21st century education. Outline Students producing work that is directed at an external audience - whether a formal assessment, a ‘showcase portfolio’, or a selection of work curated by the student outside the curriculum - is emerging as a critical field of enquiry and practice. This is happening at a time when conceptions of the matrix of academic relationships - between students, staff, research, teaching, learning - and the purposes of education in a ‘super complex’ world are subject to ongoing radical revision. ‘Enabling students to handle their own disturbance calls for a pedagogical transaction in which the student has the pedagogical space to develop her own voice’ (Barnett 2000, 160). Scholars and leaders are increasingly making the case that student work produced for an external audience is important because it offers such a pedagogical space (Fung 2017). This roundtable examines the challenges facing institutions as they embed external-facing assessments in programmes of study. The first presentation (Vincent Tong) outlines the steps taken by UCL to build institutional capacity that enables departments and programmes to design and implement external-facing assessments. The focus here is on initiatives that support the inception, enhancement, or evaluation of external-facing assessments. Vincent’s presentation explains how UCL is working to make space to discuss external-facing assessments by working with students to review programmes and their progress, in the Annual Student Experience Review. He describes how UCL is using the administrative processes around quality reviews to enable students to become full partners in establishing and developing external-facing assessments. The second presentation (Nick Grindle) explains how emerging pedagogies of students as producers, and students as partners, has given external facing assessments a prominence and significance that transcends disciplinary boundaries and the ‘pure/applied’ divide. Nick shows that external-facing assessments are moving from being signature pedagogies, taking specific forms in certain disciplines, to becoming a core feature of a university education in any subject. His presentation stresses that the emphasis on ‘student as producer’ also has important implications for inclusivity agendas, as the students’ own voice and conception of their development takes on greater prominence in their work. In the discussion part of the session we aim to gather views on how universities can seek to build institutional capacity to establish partnerships between students, stakeholders, and the public. We’re also keen to explore the role that educational professionals and colleagues in related roles might have in mediating between the institution, its students, staff, and other stakeholders. Universities will each approach these relationships differently, according to how they are organised and where their priorities lie. What can we learn from each other, and what can the UK learn from universities in different national contexts? We’re therefore keen to hear from colleagues who are familiar with other educational settings to share their experiences and reflections about the challenges that external-facing assessments present to universities. We want the roundtable to identify how external-facing assessments can succeed in balancing the needs of students, stakeholders, and society. Questions 1. How can the university develop institutional capacity to enable the development of external-facing assessments as a core element of its educational programme? 2. How might educational professionals work together with colleagues in entrepreneurship, alumni, student unions, and public engagement roles to support the university’s development of effective external-facing assessments as a core feature of its educational programme? 3. What are the challenges and opportunities that external facing assessments present for universities and external audiences with regard to diversity and inclusivity, and equality of opportunity? References Barnett, Ronald. 2000. Realising the University in an Age of Supercomplexity. Buckingham: SRHE and Open University Press. Fung, Dilly. 2017. A Connected Curriculum for Higher Education. London: UCL Press.

Type: Conference item (Presentation)
Title: External-facing assessments: Can higher education balance the needs of students, stakeholders, and the public?
Event: SRHE Annual Research Conference 2017
Location: Newport, UK
Dates: 06 - 08 December 2017
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: https://srhe.ac.uk/arc/conference2017/
Language: English
Keywords: employability, enterprise, graduate careers, learning, teaching, assessment
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Arts and Sciences (BASc)
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10112975
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